Choosing the right flooring installation technique can ensure that the floors you install last for years. However, it can be difficult to decide which method is right for a particular project. Some flooring types are designed for specific installation methods. Other flooring types can be installed multiple ways. Understanding each of the three most common installation methods can help you choose which one is right for the job.
The three most common installation types are glue, nail-down, and floating. You may also see a combination of these different types, depending on the conditions at your installation site. For example, if you have different types of subflooring, you may find yourself using multiple methods.
Floating floors are all the rage in floor installation. These click-lock applications mean that planks connect to each other and do not need to be affixed to the subfloor. You may also find floating applications in some sheet vinyls. Floating floors are easy to install, which is why they are also popular with DIY project people. They install quickly and are durable. However, to install a floating floor, the floor materials have to be designed for a floating installation. If they do not have that click-lock design, then a floating installation is out. This means that floating floors may be more expensive than similar floors made for different application types. Many floating floors have a built-in underlayment, which simplifies the installation process.
Nailing down a floor is an inexpensive and quick flooring installation technique. Using a pneumatic nailer, you can quickly install the floor, and a blind nailing method, which hides the nail holes in the tongue and groove part of the planks, means you get a perfect finish. For nail down applications, you are usually going to install an underlayment layer. There are some risks to using a nail down method. Over time, the nails can loosen, which will result in a squeaky floor. It is also not a good method to use if you are installing flooring over an unconditioned area.
Glue down installation is the most time-consuming and expensive way to install a floor. However, many people also consider it the best method. High-quality adhesives add moisture and sound insulation, and the glue’s natural elasticity allows the floors to expand and contract naturally. You can use a glue down application even over unfinished areas, just pick a glue that has a moisture barrier sufficient to work with your subfloor.